21 Questions to Evaluate Even The Best Email Service Providers And See If They Are “the One”

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Even with all the work invested in looking at the best email service providers and choosing the one right for you, simply starting with—or sticking with—an ESP doesn’t guarantee success.

As with any relationship, personal or professional, things are bound to change. Is your current ESP still one of the best email service providers, are they still “the one”?

How well has your email service provider done so far?

People grow, goals change, businesses evolve, markets change, long-term plans veer off into another direction… and so it is with ESPs and the companies they serve. Is your current ESP still one of the best email service providers, is he still “the one”? Or is there another that could serve you better down the road?

Below you’ll find 21 questions can guide you to objectively evaluate how well an ESP has performed for you so far, and how well it might be your future ESP based on both your roadmap and theirs.

Are they (still) one of the best email service providers for you?
Are they still one of the best email service providers for you? Consider the following questions as you ponder your answer…

  1. Has your business grown in size?
  2. Has your email list grown?
  3. Has your product offering grown?
  4. Have your business objectives changed significantly since starting with that ESP?
  5. Are you ready to evolve your email segmentation into something more sophisticated?
  6. Have you had the same account manager(s) the whole time you’ve been with that ESP or have you seen turnover?
  7. Have you noticed an improvement or decline in the performance of the platform?
  8. ….customer service?
  9. …technical support?
  10. Is the ESP growing and taking on new clients? If not, why?
  11. If so, has this affected the service and performance you experience?
  12. What is the ESP’s long-term plan for growth and functionality of the platform?
  13. Do the ESP’s future plans align with yours?
  14. Has the ESP helped you to innovate your processes and/or strategy?
  15. Are they proactive on your behalf?
  16. Have they come to you with ideas or do you go to them asking for help?
  17. Has your email ROI improved since being with that ESP?
  18. How about your processes?
  19. Your strategy?
  20. Does the ESP platform offer every functionality you want?
  21. Does the ESP offer referrals to third parties to help, or do they have plans to add that functionality in the future?

These aren’t questions intended to be answered only with a simple “yes” or “no.” The will also get you thinking objectively about your ESP and what the future will hold.

In addition to the 21 questions above, you might want to check out the 6 reasons NOT to switch ESPs…just to make sure you’re not overlooking an internal problem when blaming your ESP if you’re already unhappy with them.

Will your ESP still be “the one” tomorrow?

Sure, you need to track what’s happening with your numbers today—deliverability rates, opens, click throughs, conversions, bounce rates, unsubscribes, list growth, ROI, etc.—and you need to watch for and react to trends in your numbers. But you also need to be looking down the road towards tomorrow, to make sure the ESP that’s serving you now will be the right ESP for the future and continue to do so next year and the year after… and the year after that.

You have to keep an eye on even the best email service providers

As happy as you might be right now, it’s still worth keeping an eye on your email service provider’s performance and level of service. At the simplest level, both you and your ESP need to keep up with new trends and technologies as you look towards the future. At a higher level, you should be considering whether or not your ESP is the one that can take your email marketing program where you want it to go in the next few years.

It’s like someone you date vs. someone you marry. And it could be you’re merely “dating” your current ESP because they’re not the best email service provider for you long term.

Evaluate even the best email service providers

Your business is likely growing and changing, as is your email program. It could be your business has expanded to more physical locations, grown the product line, or evolved into a sophisticated email marketing machine. Or maybe you haven’t experienced the growth yet, but you plan to.

Whatever the change (or anticipated change), it pays to periodically evaluate even the best email service providers to be sure they are always a help with and not a hindrance to your efforts to grow.

So…are you merely dating that ESP? Or is that ESP “the one”?

Image by Stephen D (cc)

About Marco Marini


Marco Marini is the CEO of ClickMail Marketing, a vendor-agnostic reseller of email marketing solutions. Marco is an acknowledged expert in e-marketing with over 15 years of experience in the field. Before taking over as CEO at ClickMail, he was the VP of Marketing & Operations. Marco has also held key marketing positions with CyberSource, eHealthInsurance, DoveBid and IBM Canada.

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